Oops minor fall off the band wagon over the last few weeks on the blog front. Not to worry I am back again with, at least for this post, an idea of what I want to write about.
Last week Andi from Estella’s Revenge blogged about her project for October called #15in31 where she (and other bloggers) aim to read fifteen books in the month of October. She also posted her wish list of books to read in this time. I considered trying to complete the #15in31—for a full five minutes—and then thankfully reason stepped in.
Over the last few years I have consistently read around the fifty book mark over the entire year. Which if I was a consistent reader is around the one book per week.* My actual pacing throughout the year is not, however, this consistent, with patches seeing me finish two or three books a week and others seeing countless books started but no actual progress to completion occurring. The inclusion of audiobooks last year in my reading repertoire didn’t result in much of an increase, partly because it coincided with a decision to tackle some slower reading books at the same time.
So yeah saying that I was going to read fifteen books in a space where I was likely to finish at most six books seemed like it was destined to make for major fail and major sad face. The thing is though, now that the idea of a reading project for October has popped into my head it just won’t go away.
Thus I have decided on my own #15in31 project which will still probably push my brain a little, and might make a dent in my completed reading projects for the month. Instead of 15 books I’m going to cut it down to 15 short stories, chapters/journal articles or comics.
One possible TBR based on things that I already own:
I have enough short story anthologies floating around that I could easily get fifteen short stories to complete this challenge. Five anthologies which I would like to start working my way through are:
- Cranky Ladies of History, edited by Tansy Rayner Roberts and Tehani Wessely, Fablecroft 2014
Picked up at this year’s Continuum in Melbourne I went to a panel with Tansy, Tehani and a large number of the contributors and this anthology sounds amazing. I am planning on running my finger down the index and reading one at random.
- Yellow Cake by Margo Lanagan, Allen and Unwin 2011
This anthology has been sitting on my kindle for forever and a day – and it’s about time that I get started on this volume. I have read two other anthologies by Margo (Black Juice and Red Spikes) and her story ‘Singing my sister down’ is my favourite short story ever.
- The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF, edited by Mike Ashley, Robinson 2010
This (not actually physically mammoth) anthology has been in my currently reading pile since 2013, or possibly earlier. The slowness of my reading is not an actual reflection of the quality of the stories—it actually has the highest hit rate of anthologies I have read over the last few years. I am two stories from the end. I just need to finish this now—and try not to cheat and list both stories as part of this challenge.
- Legends of Australian Fantasy, edited by Jack Dann and Jonathan Strahan, Harper Voyager 2010
Picked up at Melbourne World Con I read the Garth Nix story ‘To Hold the Bridge’ last year and loved it. I have no idea why I haven’t gone on to read the rest of the stories in this book—actually the reason might have been that I was trying to only have two short story anthologies on the go at one time and I was further through The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF and Queen Victoria’s Book of Spells that I was reading at the time. I think my pick from this will be the Isobelle Carmody short story as I am super excited for the release of The Red Queen later this year.
- The Mammoth Book of Paranormal Romance 2, edited by Trisha Telep, Robinson 2010
From the same stable as The Mammoth Book of Apocalyptic SF I think I got this for the Gail Carriger short story in the anthology. Probably time to give another one of these stories a go.
- Legends, Edited by Robert Silverberg, Harper Collins 2000
I think I picked this up at Borders in Melbourne Central, a very long time ago. I’ve read the first novella/short story by Stephen King but none of the others. I am pretty sure it was put aside for the same reason as Legends of Australian Fantasy and my consumption of short story anthologies has obviously been quite slow over the last few years.
I have definitely purchased a range of aspirational books over the years that I have always intended to read but never actually gotten to. These are merely the ones I could reach from my desk/remember on the shelf in Melbourne.
- A Concise History of Costume, James Laver, Thames and Hudson 1969
This book has been patiently sitting on my TBR for many years (after it somehow moved from my Mum’s bookshelf to mine) and deserves for me to at least crack it open and read the first paragraph.
- Theory for Classics: A students guide, Louise A. Hitchcock, Routledge 2008
This was a textbook for one of my university subjects and I’ve always wanted to come back and finish the chapters that weren’t assigned reading. And as it has now been nearly two years since I finished my degree I think it is time to get some more academic reading under my belt.
- A Practical English Grammar 4th Edition, A.J. Thomson and A.V. Martinet, Oxford University Press 1986 (2010)
A current major stress for me with my writing, both non-fiction and creative, is that my use of grammar can be…. somewhat creative. I think it comes from the fact that I was never taught grammar—our education system was structured under the idea that we learn grammar osmotically so it does not need to be taught, they have since rethought this idea and are now teaching grammar—so have a crazy love of good language but am not able to always recreate this myself in my writing when I am also trying to wrestle thoughts and emotions on to the page.
- Ambiguity and Minoan Neopalatial Seal Imagery, Erin McGowan, Astroms forlag 2011
Also a text picked up from my uni days. I got to work with Erin for one season at an archaeological dig in Israel and have been meaning to read the published version of her Master’s thesis for forever.
- Basic Atomic and Molecular Spectroscopy, J. Michael Hollas, Royal Society of Chemistry 2002
I gave up chemistry after the first year of my science degree, and am regretting it a bit now, so this is me re-engaging with chemistry again. There may be tears.
- Australian Post-War Novelists Selected Critical Essays, Edited by Nancy Keesing, The Jacaranda Press 1975
I picked this up on my writing groups retreat to Lorne in January as I am sort of dancing around trying to read more work by and about Australian writers, and also to engage with more literary criticism. If teenage euro-centric me could see 2015 me moving towards engaging with my national history of literature and arts, it would be confused and a bit stricken. Poor thing only has the most basic understanding of where we are headed.
I snuck an extra title under each of the short stories and chapters so there is only four slots open to comics. I don’t have as large a TBR of these but I did get a little overexcited at Supanova earlier this year so there are a few unread titles hanging around.
- Saga Volume 1, Brian K Vaughn and Fiona Staples, Image 2012
Yes I am the only person on the planet who has yet to read this. Yes I will rectify this soon.
- X-men Wolverine and Gambit, Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, Marvel 2013
I loved the X-men cartoon series when I was a kid. My favourite characters where Storm, Gambit and Rogue—so have been a little disappointed that they haven’t been that big in the movie franchise. In my buy up at Supanova I applied a slightly haphazard approach to picking up a number of X-men comics and so far have no idea if the volumes I picked up are interesting or not.
- Cairo, G Willow Wilson and MK Perker, Vertigo 2007
I have read Volumes 1 and 2 of Ms Marvel and really enjoyed them. And the cover was pretty.
So that’s my #15in31 plan for October. I wonder how it shall all wash up at the end of the month. Anyone else doing 15in31 in any form? What’s your strategy for success?
*Note consistency is not a forte of mine in any aspect of my life except work, I turn up to work.